Govt to expand drive against elephantiasis

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, May 19:

The Ministry of Health and Population is planning to expand the ongoing Mass Drug Administration (MDA) campaign against Lymphatic Filariasis (LF), commonly known as elephantiasis, to two more districts from June.

“Preparations are going on to cover three million people of five districts in the third round of MDA to be started by the first week of June,” said Dr Mahendra Bahadur Bista, director at Epidemiology and Disease Control Division. “The programme will be expanded every year as we have to achieve the goal of eliminating LF as public health problem by 2018,” Dr Bista said.

Earlier the government had envisaged covering five million people of eight districts by 2005.

The government initiated MDA campaign in 2003. “The cycle of LF transmission can be broken by treating communities at risk with safe and effective drugs for five years,” he said.

According to Health Management Information System, 50 districts have been identified as endemic to LF.

Lack of data base system, shortage of funds and lack of efficient monitoring and evaluation system are the obstacles to make MDA effective, Bista said. “The government has allocated only 20 lakh rupees to train drug distributors.”